Sunday, December 30, 2012

Encounter Balance

Game Masters talk about this thing called balance or encounter balance where the monsters and/or challenges given match the abilities of the group taking them on. The GM is supposed to use a number of critters of the appropriate level to challenge the party. That's how first level characters pretty much always end up fighting kobolds because the kobolds are an equal opponent. All the mercenaries could get together at the tavern and talk about how they each cut their teeth fighting kobolds. Except for the merc that fought an orc or the four that fought a lesser ettin. 

I picked a big bad critter for a one-shot adventure near Frandor's Keep. I thought they could handle it and they did, but one of the Dwarf fighters nearly died. Two hit points. Two. I think it was fair because they had choices about how to handle it and unfair because it was a powerful monster. It turned out to be a great battle. Both dwarf fighters--Bulberd and Salt--were down, Bulberd from terrible damage and Salt from a failed threshold of pain check. She would have gotten up, but likely not in time to save her friend. The monster had one hit point left when the rogue Hoobaskank (yes really) who has a STR of 5 (also really) slipped up behind it and stabbed it in the side. Epic battle and I would have felt super bad if one of them bought it from my monster choice. The lesser ettin was a monster appropriate to their location and it was a lot bigger than they should have been fighting, but now they can tell a better story at the Prancing Pegasus. I just wanted them to get the chance to face something that was a challenge for once since Orcs are too easy.